The Snake Could Strike In Cards' Favor


The answers to the Arizona Cardinals quarterback woes can be found in a snake.

Jake "The Snake" Plummer is just the signal caller the Cards need to fill the void created by injuries to Matt Leinhart and Kurt Warner.

But, before Plummer can become the Cards new dealer, he would have to come out of a self-imposed retirement that began last summer.

Then there would be that business matter of his $5.3 million contract that is being held by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But if heart and emotion can replace the pocketbook in NFL big business circles, Plummer is just the leader the Cardinals need.

After all, his roots are in Arizona. He starred for Arizona State University, leading the Sun Devils to within a whisper of the 1996 national championship. After earning PAC-10 Offensive Player of the Year honors that year, Plummer was drafted in the second round, the 42nd pick overall, by the Arizona Cardinals.

In 1998, after being named the Cards starting quarterback, Plummer led an Arizona team that was 6-7 to three consecutive wins by a total of eight points. The wins nailed down the team's first playoff berth since 1982. He then led Arizona to a 20-7 playoff victory on the road against the Dallas Cowboys. It was the Cards first playoffs win since 1947.

It's safe to say, the Cardinals brightest moments were with Plummer pulling the trigger of the Arizona offense.

The former Sun Devil was signed as a free agent with the Denver Broncos in 2003 and had one of the best seasons of his career, leading the Broncos to a wildcard playoff berth.

In 2005, he threw 229 passes without an interception and helped the Broncos compile a 13-3 season record.

In Arizona and Denver, Plummer's scrambling skills were never utilized properly.

He is not the classic five- or seven-step drop-back passer, as NFL coaches wanted him to be. He is at his best throwing on rollouts, boots and waggles.

In 2006, Denver coach Mike Shanahan pulled the rug out from under Plummer, replacing him in unceremonious fashion with rookie Jay Cutler.

Plummer's supporters argued Shanahan should have just cut him, so he could sign as a free agent, or at least have gotten his input on suitors.

After being traded to Tampa Bay at the end of the season, Plummer refused to report to the team and by all accounts is enjoying his retirement.

But if Plummer could be coaxed into playing football again, it logically would be in Arizona, where he continues to be revered as one of the state's finest-ever athletes.

Also, the chance to play in University of Phoenix stadium where a statue of his close friend Pat Tillman graces the entrance, has to be a huge draw.

Remember when NFL bigwigs ridiculously ordered Plummer to remove the helmet decal worn in Tillman's honor?

He also drew the ire of some for growing a beard and shaggy hair that, he said, was in honor of Tillman, who sported long hair for many seasons.

It would seem Plummer's return to a team for whom Tillman once starred would be an even more fitting tribute to his former teammate.

For Arizona fans, the opportunity to see the Comeback Kid again rally his team from behind, as he did for ASU and the Cards, would be huge.

Following Plummer's retirement, he announced on a Web site, "I leave the game with my health and happiness and look forward to the future; I have many rivers to cross."

Arizona fans should be hoping one of those rivers runs through University of Phoenix stadium.

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